St Margaret College, Secondary School, Verdala  |  (+356) 25985400|smc.verdala.ss@ilearn.edu.mt
Department Activities 2018-10-26T08:46:19+00:00

Department Activities

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Our students introduced to the harmony and beauty of a Chinese Tea culture ceremony

On Friday, 23rd October 2020, a group of Form 4 students at St. Margaret College Secondary School, Verdala, Cospicua had the opportunity to experience the harmony and beauty of a Chinese Tea culture ceremony in class. This school project was coordinated by senior teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc and it was linked with the student’s study unit about Asian Religions and Spirituality as part of their R.E. school programme.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the China Corner at St. Margaret College and while following all the Covid-19 restrictions at school, students did not miss this event in class and enjoyed every minute of it.

Teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc said, “We are all living in a busy world burdened by daily stress and work. So offering our students the opportunity to enjoy the harmony and beauty of a Chinese Tea culture ceremony in class was surely for them a lesson in meditation and calmness”.

In Chinese language a tea ceremony is called ‘chá dào’ (茶道) and it is considered as the spirit and soul of tea culture. It offers people the chance to taste and appreciate the fresh aroma of Chinese tea. For many Chinese people, a tea ceremony is an art of spiritual enjoyment which uplifts their moral character and nourishes their human nature. The four basic values which are inhibited in a Chinese Tea ceremony are honour, beauty, harmony and respect. In fact all these four values were highlighted with all participating students at school. While preparing for the tea ceremony students were told to show honour to everything around them, appreciate the beauty of nature (especially the aroma of tea), and pursue harmony while smelling and drinking tea and finally showing respect to their teacher and classmates.

Just drinking tea is one thing but experiencing the true beauty and harmony of a Chinese Tea ceremony is something more profound and spiritual. Following this activity in class students shared different feelings and this is quite natural as every person has a different life experience and personal values. In fact in China they have a famous expression which says, ‘the moon is reflected in thousand rivers but the reflections are different from each other’.

For many Western people enjoying a daily cup of tea is just like having a short break but a Chinese tea ceremony entails much more than that. Though there are many interpretations to the steps followed in a tea ceremony the following are worth to be considered:

Warming the tea pot and cups is an invitation to warm our hearts, pouring hot water from a distance to brew the tea leaves means dissolving your problems and daily burdens in the dissolved tea, pouring tea from the tea pot to the cups is to let go in life and finally smelling and sipping tea reflects a sense of enjoyment, harmony, purification and calmness.

So a tea culture ceremony is not just about drinking tea ‘chá’ (茶) but a series of steps inviting people to enjoy making tea, appreciating tea, smelling tea, drinking tea and tasting tea. In fact, the five beauties of a Chinese tea ceremony are: tea leaves, water, timing, tea sets and the drinking itself. So in few words there is great art in a Chinese Tea ceremony especially when considering the table manners requested.

Throughout this Chinese Tea ceremony held in class, St. Margaret College students learned to show high reverence to fresh tea, pure water, clean tea set, fresh air and people (teacher and participating classmates) as part of the table manners requested to follow. On the other hand as students learned to say NO to expired tea, dirty air, unclean water, and unclean tea set and to bad manners it served them a lesson in favour of sustainability and human respect/well being.

At the end of this Chinese Tea culture ceremony, teacher Martin Azzopardi  sdc expressed his special thanksgiving to the Malta China Cultural Centre, the China Embassy in Malta and the Malta/Sino Friendship Society for their continuous support and encouragement.

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Written by

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Courtney Muscat, Dwayne Galea, Clayton Baldacchino, Mikael Galea, Nolene Falzon and Emina Leghbali.

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Courtney Muscat, Dwayne Galea, Clayton Baldacchino, Mikael Galea, Nolene Falzon and Emina Leghbali together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc experiencing a Chinese Tea Culture Ceremony in class.

October 26th, 2020|Religion|

Our students share the message of the Pope’s encyclical letter, ‘Fratelli tutti’

On Friday, 23rd October 2020, senior teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc, invited a group of students to embark on a school project studying the encyclical letter of Pope Francis, ‘Fratelli Tutti’ (All Brothers) and share its message with other students. Pope Francis issued the encyclical letter ‘Fratelli Tutti’ on October 3rd and he is addressing his message not only to Christians worldwide but to all humans of good will.

Teacher Martin said that “the aim of this school study project is to make our students reflect upon the Pope’s message in his encyclical letter ‘Fratelli Tutti’ and invite them to put the needs of the poor and marginalised at the centre of their lives”. This school project was launched in link with the R.E. unit about the missionary character imprinted in the heart of Christians through Baptism and Confirmation.

‘Fratelli tutti’ is meant to unite communities during these difficult moments of fear caused by the corona virus pandemic and invite them to reflect upon the terrible effects of racism, inequality and climate change. In fact this encyclical letter is being referred to as the ‘Covid-19 encyclical letter’.

While Pope Francis’ encyclical letter ‘Laudato Si’ (Praise to You, 2015) invited all humanity to reflect upon the climate change issue and the urgent need to take care of our planet and ecosystem, ‘Fratelli Tutti’ is an invitation to take the principles of ‘fraternity’ and ‘social friendship’ seriously following the example of St. Francis of Assisi who “wherever he went … sowed the seeds of peace and walked alongside the poor, the abandoned, the infirm and the outcast, the least of his brothers and sisters”.

On quoting the www.unhcr.org, the number of sea arrivals to Malta at the start of 2020 was relatively high in January and February, with 989 people being disembarked in Malta during this period. In March, 146 people were rescued and disembarked in Malta by the AFM, 66 people in April, 72 in May and 426 in June. In July and August 2020, there were 463 sea arrivals.

Between January 1st and August 31st, 2020, 2,162 persons were rescued at sea and disembarked in Malta. This is 4% decrease compared to sea arrivals in the same period last year (2,246 arrivals between January and August 2019).

These last two years for Malta have been marked by increased arrivals by sea, with 2019 being a record year in terms of the number of people disembarked in Malta following rescue in the Central Mediterranean.

This scenario is surely a lesson of how kind and good hearted are the Maltese people and the Pope’s letter is reminding us not to forget that these immigrants are not just numbers but human beings to be loved as brothers and sisters.

‘Fratelli Tutti’ is an urgent invitation to all humanity to rethink our styles of life, our friendships, and the organisation of our societies and the meaning of our existence especially now that we are all experiencing fear, pain, uncertainty and limitations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Pope Francis is offering us the opportunity to think about a new vision of society in which human dignity and the human rights of all are to be respected.

Following this school study project, St. Margaret College students join Missio Malta missionary campaign inviting all the Maltese people to contribute and take Pope Francis’ call seriously to be loving brothers and sisters to all those in need of our help.

This school project aims to reach seven of the main goals proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:  No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Written by

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Keelan Vassallo, Chereen Buhagiar and Amy Schembri.

 

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Keelan Vassallo, Chereen Buhagiar and Amy Schembri together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc embarking on a school project studying the encyclical letter of Pope Francis, ‘Fratelli Tutti’ (All Brothers) and share its message with other students.

 

 

October 26th, 2020|Religion|

Our students learn science faster through application of knowledge

Application of scientific knowledge makes science more valuable at school and throughout my 25 year experience as a Science teacher I can admit that students can learn scientific knowledge faster if science is taught in an applied way. Teaching Science to Core Curriculum Programme (CCP) students is not easy and it entails more planning and thinking. One has to be very flexible and improvise various methods of teaching all the time. The application of scientific knowledge can be very effective to help our students memorize and understand more scientific concepts and theories which can sound abstract to them.

This progressive application of scientific knowledge is highlighted by Isaac Asimov in his book, ‘Chronology of science and discovery’ (originally published in 1989), which beautifully describes how science has shaped the world, from the discovery of fire until the 20th century.

In present day education it is highly important to seriously consider the application of science knowledge in education at all school levels; not just to engage more our students in curriculum and teach them about scientific knowledge, but crucially to provide them with a basic understanding of how science has shaped the world and human civilisation.

Schools need to become the most important application hub of science and our science students need to be involved in debate and decision-making about the fair and sustainable application of new technologies, which would help to address problems such as social inequality and the misuse of scientific discoveries. For example, as much as students should see a positive goal in the increase in welfare and life expectancy they should also be aware of the current problems of inequality relating to food supply and health resources.

So science education should not only address how we apply scientific knowledge to enhance our student’s memory and understanding of scientific concepts and theories but also how to improve the human wellbeing and condition of life.

Science education should be entirely at the service of human needs, and not just to pursue knowledge for its own sake. Science is not only necessary for humanity to succeed socially, environmentally and economically in both the short and the long term, but it is also the best tool available to satisfy the fundamental human thirst for knowledge, as well as to maintain and enhance the human cultural heritage, which is knowledge-based by definition.

 

Written by

Martin Azzopardi sdc

B.A. (Hons) Theol. & H.S., P.G.C.E., M.A. (melit.)

Senior Science teacher at St. Margaret College Secondary School, Verdala Cospicua.

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Sciberras Mikael and Zammit Caydon together with their Science teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc learning science through application of knowledge.

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Sciberras Mikael and Zammit Caydon together with their Science teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc learning science through application of knowledge.

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Sciberras Mikael and Zammit Caydon together with their Science teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc learning science through application of knowledge.

 

October 23rd, 2020|Applied Science|

St. Margaret College students join Missio Malta in aid of vulnerable poor children in Ghana

October month is dedicated to the Christian Missions worldwide and this year St. Margaret College Secondary School; Verdala students join Missio Malta in aid of vulnerable poor children in Ghana. On Monday, 19th October 2020, Senior teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc, launched a missionary campaign at school inviting his students to do a research study project about child poverty in Ghana and inviting them to join the Missio Malta fundraising campaign in aid of vulnerable poor children especially those of Nazareth Catholic Home in Ghana led by Sr Stan Therese Mumini.

Teacher Martin said that “the purpose of this school research study project is to understand the complexity of child poverty in Ghana and encourage students to be participants and not just spectators in this missionary campaign led by Missio Malta”.

According to https://www.unicef.org/ghana/reports/multi-dimensional-child-poverty-ghana three-in-four children (73.4 %) in Ghana are identified as multi-dimensionally poor, facing at least three deprivations at the same time. Rural children show significantly higher multi-dimensional deprivation rates in comparison to urban children (81.5 % versus 62.5 %, respectively).

On paper, the Constitution of Ghana offers it’s country children their proper rights but in reality, the situation is still too far away from legal guidelines and normal expectations.

On consulting https://www.humanium.org/en/ghana/ St. Margaret College students found that in Ghana one in ten children is underweight and so child malnutrition is affecting the learning ability and immune system of many children. In fact, the mortality rate of children in Ghana (under the age of five) is still high especially during the first 28 days of newborns. In this regard, anaemia is one of the main causes.

Increasing child vaccination in Ghana can ensure children’s immunity to the most common diseases which affects children in densely populated areas and also in remote areas.

Although in Ghana 87% of boys and 86% of girls complete their primary school education, only 58% of boys and 57% of girls complete their secondary school education. Also, girls have more difficulties in completing their secondary school education when compared to boys but then the literacy rate for women (84%) is higher than that of men (74%). Apart from this, teaching and learning conditions in Ghana are still poor and very often children learn in overcrowded classes with lack of materials.

Another issue is that in Ghana 25% of children are exploited to do forced labour mostly in agriculture and others in the industry. In cities, children end up working as street vendors, polishing shoes, working in restaurants and carrying parcels while in rural areas they end up cultivating crops, taking care of cattle, fishing and carrying stones.

Moreover, in the north of Ghana, ancient traditions and rituals have led to ritual killings of children, mostly those children suffering from a disability. The killing of disabled children in Ghana is very often due to the belief that they are possessed by an evil spirit which brings bad luck to those around them. In fact, this sort of ignorance is leading to the killing of many disabled children each year by these obscure rituals.

However, one of the major problems in Ghana is human trafficking affecting mostly girls aged 7 to 16 and boys aged 10 to 17. Due to human trafficking, boys end up working illegally in mines, cocoa plantations or in the fishing industry. On the other hand, girls normally end up serving in domestic labour.

While successes are to be recognized, it is important to highlight the fact that without more investment from both government and foreign aid, child poverty in Ghana will remain a serious issue. Thus St. Margaret College students unite with Missio Malta to create awareness about child poverty in Ghana and encourage others to contribute to the fundraising campaign in aid of vulnerable poor children.

This school project aims to reach seven of the main goals proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:  No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Written by

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Gianese Abela, Isaac Abo Hasson Mallia, Thomas Buhagiar, Keane Mizzi and Lars Bahmuller.

 

 

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Gianese Abela, Isaac Abo Hasson Mallia, Thomas Buhagiar, Keane Mizzi and Lars Bahmuller together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc raising awareness about child poverty in Ghana while joining Missio Malta in aid of vulnerable poor children.

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Gianese Abela, Isaac Abo Hasson Mallia, Thomas Buhagiar, Keane Mizzi and Lars Bahmuller together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc raising awareness about child poverty in Ghana while joining Missio Malta in aid of vulnerable poor children.

 

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Gianese Abela, Isaac Abo Hasson Mallia, Thomas Buhagiar, Keane Mizzi and Lars Bahmuller together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc raising awareness about child poverty in Ghana while joining Missio Malta in aid of vulnerable poor children.

 

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Gianese Abela, Isaac Abo Hasson Mallia, Thomas Buhagiar, Keane Mizzi and Lars Bahmuller together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc raising awareness about child poverty in Ghana while joining Missio Malta in aid of vulnerable poor children.

October 21st, 2020|Religion|

Our School is mentioned once again on Xinhua Net News as they offer a brief coverage to the three oldest books found at the National Bibliotheca

The name of our school is mentioned once again on XinhuaNet News as they offer a brief coverage to the three oldest books about China found at the National Bibliotheca of Malta.

See the link here please: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-09/12/c_139363600.htm

Article 2020 -The three oldest books about China found in the National Bibliotheca of Malta by Martin Azzopardi sdc

September 15th, 2020|Applied Science|

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